I was amused to read the article in the Evening Standard last night claiming that Chamonix is, at last, going up market.
“This upgrade is instantly apparent in the attractive town centre with its shop-fronts – many new this winter – featuring edgy sportswear brands such as Oxbow, North Face and Mammut.”
Ok, I might not have kids in private school or drive a 4×4, but according to The Times we tick many of the boxes entitling us to be middle class (you know, eating humus, going to the Latitude Festival, organic veg boxes, real fires etc.) and part of that is buying said brands from the shops listed above. These shops have been in the town for years! Not being upper-middle class, I’m personally more impressed by the Chanel, Mont Blanc and Monclur boutiques which I’ve never set foot in due to the fear of the price tags. There are also the prestigious ‘heritage’ type establishments such as Arpin 1871 and Aux Petits Gourmands – Pâtisserie -Salon de Thé to peer through the window at. And in terms of Michelin stared restaurants there are 3 in the town center alone (Le Bistro and Le Hameau Albert 1er, Auberge de Bois Pin), with plenty more Gourmet restaurants to sample. To a little girl from Wales that’s all up market :-)
So whats the fuss? Well, apparently now there are chalets renting for £31,500 per week (!!!) in Les Bossons ‘to revival those found in Courcheval or Megeve’, and presumably Meirbel too. Seemingly, people who can afford that kind of rent can also afford a private driver to overcome the drag of not being able to ski back down to the door, so making the resort feel less disjointed, and now everything is becoming rosy :-).
And if we hadn’t realized the tourist make up is going to change I read that a new spa complex will be opening in 2014. The new 1,500m2 spa will be located behind the Richard Bozons sports centre and feature saunas, steam rooms, beauty parlors and massage rooms.
Not a bad thing to bring even more money into the town I suppose, but I might now have to fight for my space on the gentler slopes as this lot are probably not going to disappear off piste. Oh well, my TK Maxx kit will still put me in good steed to face the elements, I’m sure.